Our Team

Lt General Sir Robert Magowan KCB CBE

President

Lt General Sir Robert Magowan KCB CBE


Lieutenant General Rob Magowan joined the Royal Marines in 1989 after reading Chemistry at Southampton University. His early command appointments included a tour of Northern Ireland. He became Naval Assistant to Commander in Chief Fleet and then completed the US Marine Corps Command and Staff Course, also gaining a Master’s degree.

Returning from the US, he was posted to HQ 3 UK Division as a plans officer, during which time he deployed to Afghanistan on Operation Fingal, the first International Security Assistance Force deployment to Kabul. He returned to 42 Commando as Second in Command, deploying to Kuwait and Iraq for Operation Telic 1.

2003 saw him begin a 3-year stint in London, working in the Cabinet Office before assuming the Deputy Head position in the Afghan Drugs Inter-Departmental Unit. In 2006, he assumed command of the Royal Marines 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group, deploying immediately on Operation Herrick 5 to Helmand province. On promotion to Colonel he took up a Deputy Head post in Defence Intelligence in 2009.

After Higher Command and Staff Course in 2011 he was promoted to Brigadier and became the Chief of Staff to the National Contingent Commander in Kabul. In 2013 he assumed the Commodore Naval Personnel Strategy role before becoming Commander Joint Forces Intelligence Group in 2015.

On promotion to Major General in 2016 he became Commandant General Royal Marines and Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces. He also assumed command of the European Union Naval Force Somalia. In late 2017 he became Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Capability) and Chief of Staff Navy Command HQ, before assuming the post of Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Capability and Force Design) in the MoD. On promotion to Lieutenant General in early 2020 he took up his current post, Deputy Commander Strategic Command.

He is president of the Royal Navy/Royal Marines Mountaineering Club, RN Netball and RN/RM Rifle Association. He is Armed Forces Buddhist Champion and chairs the Defence Mindfulness Steering Group. He is also president of the charity 65 Degrees North.

He lives in Hampshire with his wife, Charlotte, and two teenage daughters. He remains an active mountaineer. He enjoys reading European political history and is a keen amateur cook.

Major General Andy Keeling CB CBE

Vice President

Major General Andy Keeling CB CBE


Major General Andy Keeling CB CBE joined the Royal Marines in September 1961 and retired in April 1995. In the intervening 34 years he saw operational service in Borneo, Aden, Cyprus, The Falklands War, Northern Ireland and Kurdistan. He also won Navy caps for Hockey and Squash, ran a London marathon, sailed the Atlantic, commanded four troops, one company, 45 Commando and 3 Commando Brigade. He was Representative Colonel Commandant from 1998-2002.

Since retiring he has been very closely involved with a number of military and civilian charities.

George Matthews

CEO

65 Degrees North has appointed George Matthews as Chief Executive Officer for the charity.

George served for 35 years as a Royal Marine and has a wealth of experience of command and the challenges faced by service personnel both on after operational tours of duty.

As an experienced Mountain Leader, he has a comprehensive understanding of the value of operating in challenging environments and how this builds individual and collective resilience.

An experienced crisis management consultant in high-risk industries, both in UK and globally, he is a strong advocate of ‘people over process’ and helps senior leadership teams to develop the ability to respond effectively under pressure.

‘It is a privilege and pleasure to accept this prestigious position at a time of organisational change for 65 Degrees North. Supporting our serving and veteran personnel, as they come to terms with the reality of the physical and emotional challenges brought about by having to leave military service prematurely because of trauma, has never been so important.

65 Degrees North has, since inception, worked to support rehabilitation and recovery through the medium of seriously adventurous activities.

Our focus on ‘what we can achieve’ rather than ‘what we can no longer achieve’ can be a real game changer and be pivotal in rebuilding confidence and resilience in its beneficiaries. The future is bright, and our collective aim remains to continue to provide opportunities for our beneficiaries to enjoy new experiences in challenging environments and to alter their own and others’ perceptions that limit them and instead support them in helping to shape their future journey.’

‘My aim is quite simply to continue to build on the great work of my predecessor to enhance the reputation and output of 65 Degrees North by creating a strong and committed team that can fulfil the direction provided by the Board of Trustees’.

Our Trustees

Major Aston Woodward

Chair

Major Aston Woodward

Aston Woodward is the co-founder of Oxygen Asset Management based in the City of London. Oxygen manages over £3BN of commercial real estate focused on Central London offices. Aston also serves on the boards of other property related companies. Oxygen focuses on commitments to ESG whilst creating workspace that creates a positive impact on people.

Aston joined the Royal Marines in 1999 and served as an officer in the Royal Marines Reserve. He subsequently joined 40 Commando Royal Marines where he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Hedrick 7 and Sierra Leone and was part of expeditions to Alaska and Botswana finally reaching the rank of Major.

He is well positioned to facilitate connections that enable sponsorship opportunities in combination with his experience of ‘Charitable Governance’ all whilst understanding the ethos of the charity and is passionate about what it can deliver.

Aston lives just outside Sevenoaks in Kent with his wife and three children. He owns and manages a woodland in a wildlife reserve for the purposes of creating biodiversity, he has offered this as a venue for future 65 Degrees North ventures and accommodation.


Aston was critical to the success of the dinner at 8 Northumberland Avenue (Nov 2022) by facilitating the sale of more tables than any other individual which further reinforces his love of 65 Degrees North.


Aston is a Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Jonathan Ball

Trustee

Jonathan Ball


Jonathan was born and brought up in Walsall. He was a soldier in the Staffordshire Regiment from 1981 until 1984, then went on to study Modern History at Oxford University, and Theology at Leeds University. He became a minister in the Church of England in 1988, serving in his home county for eight years before re-joining the Army as a chaplain in 1996. He was based across England and in Germany, serving on operational tours in Africa, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2003 his regiment, 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, was embedded in 3 Commando Brigade for the invasion of Iraq. From 2005-8 he served as Military Assistant to the Chaplain-General.

On leaving the Army in 2008 Jonathan served as Chaplain and Chief of Staff to the Bishop of Salisbury before joining the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund in October 2012 as Operations Manager, and became Chief Executive in May 2013.

He is married to Jane, a Vicar in Hampshire, and has two children Michael, a teacher in Macau, and Rebecca, working in a management change consultancy in London. Jonathan enjoys mad endurance challenges, learning foreign languages, long distance walking and cross country running with his two Irish Setters.

Gail de’Claire

Trustee

Gail de’Claire


Gail is a Chartered Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and an Investment Manager at the Charles Stanley Cardiff office. She was appointed Treasurer of 65 Degrees North in 2020.

Leaving college with A Levels in Economics and Law and a business diploma Gail had the opportunity to join Eversheds Solicitors as a legal clerk. In 1992 she then joined Allied Provincial Securities as a secretary to the office head. Hungry to become a stockbroker, she went on to complete the full Securities Industry Diploma.

Gail has 28 years experience of working in the financial sector and has built up a portfolio of private clients, specialising in discretionary portfolio management including pensions, trusts, offshore bonds and corporates. Keen for clients to gain a better understanding of the industry, she constructed evening courses for the private client entitled – “A beginners guide to the stock market”.

Gail has featured in the Cardiff Life publication and was a judge for the Cardiff Life Business awards. She is married and a mum, has a black belt in karate and enjoys cycling, swimming and walking her rescue dog with a keen passion to help her local dog shelter. 

Miss Anne Markey

Trustee

Miss Anne Markey


Anne is an ENT Surgeon currently working at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust in Merseyside.

She qualified in 2005 and has progressed through her surgical training with an interest in expedition medicine. She is currently enrolled on the Diploma of Mountain Medicine and had completed a 4 month season working at high altitude in the Everest region of Nepal for the Himalayan Rescue Association.

Anne has a keen interest in mountaineering, adventure racing and triathlon. These adventures have had to take a backseat due to the arrival of two children in close succession in recent years although she looks forward to Coryn and Euan joining her and her husband, a Royal Marines Captain and mountaineer, on future adventures.

She provides medical advice throughout all phases of the planning and running of the adventures of 65 Degrees North alongside her duties as a trustee. 

Pat Parsons

Trustee

Pat Parsons


Pat is a retired Royal Marines Officer who lives in the Peak District with his wife Nicky. His mountaineering career began at school in the mountains of North Wales and since then he has climbed widely, made first ascents and led many expeditions to the Himalayas, Antarctica, North America, Africa and the alps. In 1980 he was awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze medal for saving the life of a fellow climber on a mountain in India. His career in the Royal Marines was long and varied; he ran the Nigerian Army Jungle Warfare Course and also commanded the Mountain & Arctic Warfare Cadre during Operation Haven, the Kurdish refugee crisis in 1991. He served as an advisor to the Kosovo Liberation Army and his last posting was in the Czech Republic where he commanded the British Military Training Team in Eastern Europe.

Pat’s outdoor agenda was interrupted in 2018 when he suffered a serious climbing accident, sustained a spinal injury and was diagnosed as an ‘incomplete paraplegic’. At the accident site he was rescued by the Derby Mountain Rescue Team which, although not apparent at the time, was to open another chapter of his life.

He discovered 65 Degrees North as a beneficiary in 2017 when he joined the ‘RAID 17’ expedition and cycled East to West across the Pyrenees. More recently he has organised and led the 65 Degrees North Rockweek expeditions in Cornwall.  

Pat enjoys Sea kayaking, mountain biking, motor biking, and boating. He is currently the Chairman of the Derby Mountain Rescue Team - the same team that rescued him in 2008. 

Dave Pearce

Trustee

Dave Pearce


Dave proudly served in the Royal Marines Commandos for over 26 years, seeing operations across the globe including a number in Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland. As a Commando, Dave was embedded in many operations during the Cold War. He has also trained Commandos in tactics and specialist warfare, as well as combat survival and evasion. Towards the end of his military career Dave was Sergeant Major to a squadron of Commandos in Afghanistan, working with Special Forces, for 9 months in 2001/2. He left in 2005 as a senior Warrant Officer.

Dave has worked extensively in the security industry, including providing security for many A list celebrities. His current profession as a television and film producer, and safety consultant has taken him to many extreme, dynamic and hostile locations. He has worked on approximately 90% of shows presented by Bear Grylls and further productions with other celebrities, as well as commercial campaigns. He has an interest in global politics and world affairs and has worked alongside many high profile figures including Barack Obama, his administration and secret service agents.

In 2003 Dave summited Everest, returning again in 2006 and was a member of the first successful British ascent of Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. He made an early British ascent of El Capitan, joined a team of 5 navigating a RIB through the North West Passage, and has experience of many other extreme expeditions.

Dave is a published author and a volunteer for the Jurassic lifeboat team. He has been married for 34 years and has three daughters. 

Rob Wake

Trustee

Rob is a Royal Marines veteran and a senior project manager at property consultancy Capital and Provincial, part of the Bellrock Group.

Serving from 2007 to 2017, Rob deployed numerous times around the globe, including two tours of Afghanistan and counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. After serving, he worked on a $37 billion energy project in Kazakhstan, and from 2022 to 2023 was Head of Operations for a charity helping current and former military servicepeople with life-altering physical and mental injuries reconnect with fitness. He lives in London, and in his spare time trains and competes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

As a veteran, Rob understands the rewards of overcoming new challenges and is passionate about growing and serving the community 65 Degrees North supports by reintroducing adventure to their lives.


Angela Kennedy

Trustee

Angela Kennedy is the Business Manager at Oxygen Asset Management in the City of London and has worked in various property companies over the last 27 years.

Angela joined the Royal Air Force in 1989 and served at RAF Leuchars, then at the Joint Planning Staff at HQ Land Command (which became the PJHQ at Northwood) and was part of the team who organised the British-US combined deployment of Exercise Purple Star 1996.

Angela lives in Essex and is Mum to a teenage daughter, who is currently studying at university. In her spare time, Angela enjoys Pilates, concerts and going to the gym.

Our Support Team

Joe Winch

Support team member

Joe Winch 


Joe has enjoyed 18 years of service in the Royal Marines – which has been an incredible adventure, full of opportunities and excitement. Since 2017 though he has been recovering from Complex PTSD – which hasn’t involved work in the conventional sense, but has been the most challenging role he has have ever had.

Overcoming his adversity has allowed Joe to grow and learn so much about himself; as well as mental health, resilience, recovery, and supporting others who are struggling with a psychological injury. These are all subjects that Joe is very passionate about.

Joe’s recovery has also been greatly helped by mountaineering – where his symptoms are eased considerably. This is a journey that began on a hillside in South Wales and which led to him ultimately to summiting Mount Everest in May 2019 with 65 Degrees North.

Danny Claricoates

Support team member

Danny Claricoates


Danny joined the Royal Marines in 2003. On completion of training he was drafted to 42 Commando RM just outside of Plymouth and quickly specialised as a Reconnaissance Operator.

Danny deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 for Operation Herrick 5 and it was for actions during this deployment that saw him awarded the Military Cross. Once home and after a second deployment to Norway he was drafted to Stonehouse Barracks, also in Plymouth, to join Brigade Patrol Troop. Danny quickly re-deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Herrick 9 this time with troop being part of the larger Brigade Reconnaissance Force. It was during this tour Danny witnessed an event which, along with events from his first tour, would see him being diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Danny was medically discharged in 2011.

He now spends his time working on his own business delivering outdoor activities to young people as well as taking part in outdoor freelance work. Danny successfully summited Kilimanjaro in February 2016 and Mt. Vinson in January 2017 with 65 Degrees North and he continues to support the team using his skills and experience gained through these expeditions.

Professor David Shearer

Support team member

Professor David Shearer


David is a Professor in Sport Psychology at the University of South Wales and a HCPC registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist. He consults extensively as an applied sport psychologist in a wide range of elite sports both in the UK and abroad.

For 65 Degrees North, David advises team members how to maximise their performance while undergoing extreme challenge, and how their experiences can translate to everyday live.

David has published extensively on a range of topics in sport science and psychology, and specialises in elite performance research on team dynamics, psychological/physical factors related to recovery, and psychological factors underpinning extreme sport.

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